Iqon's New Zealand Blog

Tag: Birthday

Exams

by on 12 November 2009, under New Zealand, UoA, Hiking

It has been a while since I last wrote on my blog. It is not because nothing is going on down here, though. The culprits are my exams which I have needed to focus on for the last couple of weeks.

Last time I wrote was the day (or night) before my birthday which went well. Not only did I receive some gifts, we also had a small party to celebrate my great accomplishment of having survived 23 years of life. The weather was terrible the most of the day but I guess that is because everything is acting the opposite way down here (the water in the toilet spins the wrong way when flushing, people drive in the wrong side of the road, it gets colder when you go south etc.). With that in mind, the bad weather on my birthday must mean that I have been behaving quite well this past year (this is one of the few cases where I can definitely agree with the weather). Now that we are talking about the weather (or rather, now that I am boring people with it) I can mention that it definitely starts to feel like summer now. We still have the occasional days with bad weather which makes me even more sad than normally since it can sometimes completely kill my beloved Internet. It seems so weird to have Internet which depends on the weather but that is at least my theory on how the speed can go from “modem like” (on the good days!) to “non-existing”.

DSC02853

DSC02859
I got flowers from the two Americans Josh and TJ

DSC02861
The rest of my gifts

Most days the weather has been pretty nice, though, and we have utilized that to have a few barbecues. The most recent of these was last weekend where David Ryan, the professor who has previously had us for dinner, had invited us for a late lunch barbecue at Waiheke Island, one of the small islands close to Auckland. Here Ryan owns a small summer cottage (or “badge” as I learned it is called in New Zealand) which is soon to be demolished in order for a proper house to be build on the ground. The idea is that he and his wife will move there when the new house has been constructed. That is quite understandable; the island was a lovely place with easy access to the beach and great views. Not a bad place to settle! Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera so you will have to take my word for it.

My biggest “adventure” took place a couple of weeks ago. Skott and a couple of my other friends down here have taken up surfing and had planned to go on a surf trip for a couple of days to celebrate the end of lectures. I have never managed to become excited about the prospect of surfing so I could instead look forward to some days all alone and sad (since no one wanted to go with me to Fiji or Tonga). At least that’s how it seemed until the night before Saturday (same day as my lectures ended) where I was offered to go on a trip to Tongariro the following day. The plan was to go down there Saturday and spend Sunday on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is known to be one of the very best one day hikes New Zealand has to offer. I can easily see how it has achieved this reputation: It was an amazing trip which went up active volcanoes, snow covered mountain tops, hot springs, beautiful lakes and ending in “rain forest” style surroundings. The highest point was Mt Tongariro at 1900 m above sea level and needless to say the view was fantastic from there. It was a long hike (approximately 9 hours, 23 km) but luckily I did not twist my ankle until after the steepest ascents. However, I did have to walk the last three hours with a somewhat sore ankle after having twisted it on my way down but that’s (my) life. I can also mention that Mt Tongariro along with e.g. Mt Ngauruhoe (an optional side trip of about three hours you can do if you think you have the time – we didn’t) were used as settings for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies.

DSC02883

P3170127

IMG_0940

DSC02927

IMG_0986

IMG_0590

As I mentioned in the beginning I do spend most of my time studying for my exams at the moment. Today I have had my second one out of a total of three. I have done OK in both of them although I don’t think I have answered everything 100% correctly in any of them. My last exam is this Saturday which I am of course looking forward to. Afterwards I am going to the South Island for some weeks until I leave the country the 13th of December. I’ll spend a couple of days in New York and then return to the cold and dark Denmark.

2 Comments :, , , , , , , , more...

Nothing new

by on 15 October 2009, under New Zealand, PSV, UoA, Hiking

It has been awfully quiet on my blog recently and I know a lot of people must fear that something has happened to me. I can understand that, I mean, we have had a couple of tsunamis here. In this connection I would like to thank everybody for not sending me a single concerned message. It is nice to know that you are loved… I hope you, my dear reader, catches the double sarcasm used in the remark above but down here I have learned that not everybody gets my humor which probably does not give the right image of me as the fantastic guy that I really am.

But what has happened these last couple of weeks since I have been so busy that I haven’t been able to look after my exciting blog? Not much, actually. After the break there has been a bit more focus on the school work but it is not too bad. I have already completed one course by giving a single presentation about an article that proved to be completely wrong (I did suspect that when I read it but might not have been too clear about this in my presentation). In my other courses it is going pretty well also (thanks for asking), at least I have gotten full marks in all my assignments (although I have received no extra marks for the new ones as I did in my first assignment), except for one where marks were deducted since I hadn’t been able to fit an introduction and conclusion into an assignment which was limited to three pages.

To illustrate how little is going on down here at the moment I will now tell you about me and cleaning (I could also call it “me and the encounter with other cultures” but that would make it sound much more thrilling than it actually is). I do have a couple of places where I don’t represent the typical Danish man. Some might call me a nerd; others call me “special” which I have chosen to take as a compliment (you only get the compliments you claim yourself – at least in my experience). One of the things that makes me “special” is apparently my attitude towards cleaning or at least washing-up. Apparently it is quite unreasonable to ask your flatmates to clean their pots, pans, dishes etc. after they have used it. Instead, this is a task that rests on the next person who wants to cook something (i.e. me). I make it sound worse than it is but after a couple of discussions with my flatmates about this matter I have concluded that I must be wrong – although I have still not realized why (this might be one of the drawbacks of living with three girls, I suppose). I guess I will learn why at some point.

A couple of weeks ago the flats in PSV were inspected. They were going to check if we kept our flat in a nice condition. This was a good excuse to do some proper cleaning which was definitely needed. I will let the picture of the area behind the oven speak for itself, although I can mention that the top of the shelves didn’t look much better.

DSC02815
Behind the oven before the cleaning.
It is funny that the only one who seems to agree somewhat with me down here when it comes to cleaning is the other Dane in PSV, Skott (or, I think another Dane also lives here but I never meet her). When I was studying in the US I encountered the same phenomenon. The kitchen was extremely gross and useless. One of the first things us four Danes did when we moved in was to clean the disgusting fridges. When we spoke with the international office about the matter later on they mentioned that it was weird that it was always Danes who complained about the lack of cleaning – as if they had encountered that exact problem before without doing much about it. Cleanliness is apparently a very Danish thing which I haven’t valued enough so far.

The dangerous fridge
The fridge in my dorm in the US.

That must be enough complaining for now. To continue on a more positive note I can mention that I once again have become quite good at twisting my ankle. My left foot seems particularly happy to place itself at wrong angles at the moment, which is usually followed by delightful pain. One of the times I twisted my left ankle was on a new trip to Waitakere Ranges, which I also visited one of my first days down here. This time we went on another hike which wasn’t as impressive as the first one to Karekare. This was probably because of the fog which made it impossible to enjoy the nice views from the hilltops we climbed. The most exciting part about the hike was probably the last half hour where we almost got lost. The path we were supposed to follow was marked off pretty badly. Or to be more precise, the markers were put in one direction, the path was continuing in another. We chose to follow the path even though it kept going upwards and it started getting pretty windy. It was at this point that my left ankle decided that it would be perfect timing to twist. And so it did, just as we had reached the top and had started to climb down, still not knowing if we were on the right path. Very exciting last part of the hike indeed.

The other times I have twisted my ankle have been while playing squash. When you live in one of the student accommodations provided by the university you get free access to the university’s recreation centre which includes two squash courts. I often play against my American friend, Josh, whom I beat regularly – it is always fun. A tip for pros: Don’t step on the walls since this is when you can most easily twist your ankles. I am sure that it takes professional squash players much longer to learn this lesson than the week it took me to realize it. Of course it can be debated whether or not I have learned it yet, seeing as I today, many weeks after the first incident, chose to step on a wall again…

I hope that the above is enough about “everyday life in NZ” as was requested by my readers (or at least one) – I can’t really come up with much more ordinary things to bore people with.

I will try to improve my segues for my later blog posts so the paragraphs will not be connected by me complaining and talk about my bad ankles.

But now it is my birthday! And with that, I will end this post (yeah, I should try to improve the way I end my blog posts also).

5 Comments :, , , , , , , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!